IDC Study: Economic Downturn as Linux Growth Engine

Mar 17, 2009

A market study by the International Data Group (IDC) has come to the conclusion that the worldwide financial crisis is a growth opportunity for Linux, both on servers and desktops. Novell was the sponsor for the survey and whitepaper.

Next to increasing cost pressures, the survey respondents identified virtualization as a factor for selecting Linux-based solutions. The IDC reports that more than half of the respondents plan to adopt Linux virtualization over the next year, of which roughly 72% are evaluating or have already decided to move Linux on their servers. About 68% of desktop users have come to the same conclusion. Virtualization under Linux was the desired solution for 88% of the respondents for the next year or two, whether by evaluation or outright adoption.

The survey came with a precondition that all respondents have at least some familiarity with Linux solutions. Sponsored by Novell, the IDC in February surveyed 330 organizations with 100 or more employees in the manufacturing, financial services, retail and government sectors. 97% of the respondents reported Windows as their server platform, 55% Linux and 39% UNIX.

The study results also show that not necessarily those hit hardest by the financial downturn are the ones to switch to free software, that is, organizations in North, Central and South America. The biggest Linux growth rather was in the Asia-Pacific region: 73% of the respondents wanted more Linux server installations, 70% more on the desktop, compared to 67% and 66%, respectively, in the Americas. According to the market study, the financial and government sectors were the hardest hit. However, the biggest trend toward free software was reported to be in the retail sector, where 63% of the respondents want to see Linux on the desktop, 69% on servers.

A further survey result certainly substantiated Novell in its sponsoring role: 67% of the respondents considered the Linux and Windows interoperability as a main factor in choosing a platform. Novell should be happy with this result, because of itscooperative agreement with Microsoft and the large part of their revenue that comes from it.

Novell provides a link to the IDC survey whitepaper on its website.

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